Naturopathy is a whole medical system that has its roots in Germany. It was developed further in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the United States, where today it is part of complementary and alternative medicine. The word naturopathy comes from Greek and Latin and literally translates as "nature disease."
A central belief in naturopathy is that nature has a healing power (a principle called vis medicatrix naturae). Another belief is that living organisms (including the human body) have the power to maintain (or return to) a state of balance and health, and to heal themselves. Practitioners of naturopathy prefer to use treatment approaches that they consider to be the most natural and least invasive, instead of using drugs and more invasive procedures.
Naturopathy was named and popularized in the United States by Benedict Lust, who was born in Germany in the late 100s. When Lust became seriously ill with what he believed was tuberculosis, he was treated by a priest and healer in Germany named Sebastian Kneipp. Kneipp's treatment was based on various healing approaches and philosophies that were popular in Europe, including:
Lust found his health much improved from Kneipp's treatment, and when he immigrated to the United States at the turn of the 20th century, he was dedicated to popularizing it. He gave it the name naturopathy, led the way in developing it as a medical system in the United States, and founded the first naturopathic college and professional association. In naturopathy's early years, other therapies were added to its practice-for example, homeopathy and manipulation (a hands-on therapy).